posted by Joe Anaya on October 7th, 2013

Hormones are a powerful thing. I can fully attest to a woman’s changes during and after pregnancy. In fact, I sort of consider it my life’s work to warn fathers-to-be of what lies ahead.

Whenever we run into an expectant couple, my wife will go into her spiel extolling the virtues of breastfeeding. While she educates the expectant mother with “brain development” this and “infant bonding” that, I’ll pull the father aside and whisper, “Is your wife crazy yet?”

Often I’m greeted with the look of a man released from solitary confinement. “It goes away, eventually,” are my next words of encouragement. Those words are met by the glimmer of hope of a man drowning in the ocean being tossed a life preserver. It’s not over but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

Just after my son was born, my blissful marriage was rocked by my wife’s wild mood swings and her inescapable conclusion that our marriage was a horrible mistake. In her eyes, the caring, fun, considerate, hard-working soul-mate she married had been replaced by an inept, selfish, oaf in a matter of months.

One time we were on our way to a party, leaving our newborn with his grandmother, my wife asked if I had my reading glasses. I didn’t. I responded with, “It’s a party. What am I going to need them for?”

With the force of a collapsing emotional dam, my wife exploded, “How can you be so selfish? You never do anything for me. You’re going to be a horrible father.” Those weren’t the actual words, but the underlying message was unmistakable. She proceeded to rip me a new one, negating our entire history together based on the fact that my reading glasses were left at home on the nightstand. Many years later, when rehearing the story, my wife will sheepishly admit that MAYBE she overreacted. (I’m not even sure what there was to react to.)

This is one example in a year’s worth of incidents. I’d bet the divorce rate increases dramatically within a couple of years after childbirth. My advice to new fathers is always the same, “ride the wave.”

Of course, it does no good to tell the mothers they’re acting irrationally. Because one, crazy people never think they’re crazy and two, you’re now engaging in a rational argument with a crazy person. There’s no winning. You just have to suck it up and take it with the new knowledge that hormone levels will eventually go back to normal, mood swings will subside and if you survive, the woman you fell in love with and wanted to make a family with will return (more or less).

File Under King of the Castle